GLOBE- The Gila Community College Hiking Classes, begin 7 a.m. Sunday, August 27 at the Wellness Center, on the campus up Six Shooter Canyon. Two classes are offered and will meet together for this first day.
Listed as Beginning Hiking I and Beginning Hiking II, the two classes are being conducted by Bob Zache, who has been teaching them almost nine years. Beginning Hiking I is also called Urban Hiking and features hikes closer to town, most of which are a little easier. In Beginning Hiking II, Mountain Hiking, students will experience more difficult trails in surrounding mountains.
The Mountain Hiking class schedule this semester includes Armer Mountain, Angel Wings, Salt River Peak, Picket Post Mountain, Haunted Canyon, Upper Parker Creek, Javelina Butte, Margarita Saddle, and a hike all the way around Picket Post Mountain. Urban Hiking includes Timber Camp, Globe Cemetery, Diversion Dam Tunnel, Boulder Canyon, Old Superior Highway to Claypool Tunnel, Copper Crawl, and the Old Superior Highway at Top of the World.
Because of the fires on Pinal Mountain last spring, access to trailheads is blocked so no hikes will be scheduled there until next spring.
At the orientation Sunday, Aug. 27, issues such as safety, required equipment and details of the hiking schedule will be discussed. After the paperwork is done, both classes will be transported to the first hike, possibly Madera Peak if the road is open. After that, the two classes will be held on alternating Fridays and Sundays to accommodate Farmers Market Saturday mornings through September.
Bob Zache. Photo by LCGross
Beginning Oct. 7, the Urban Hiking and Mountain Hiking classes will be held alternate Saturdays.
Experienced hikers may enroll in both classes if they wish and look forward to hiking every week. The hikes vary in time, from three hours to eight hours, including driving time. Usually, hikers will meet in the WalMart parking lot to ride in a van to the trailhead.
All hikes are paced to participants’ abilities, Zache said, with both faster hikers and those with a slower pace learning to accommodate one another. Hikes include discussion along the way of history, geology, flora, fauna and other subjects of interest. At all times, safety is emphasized, Zache said. Water is always required and snacks or a lunch for the longer hikes is a good idea, he added.
Residents 55 years old or older can register at the college free of cost. For those younger than 55, a one-semester-hour credit class costs $120 for Arizona residents, $360 for non-residents.
For more information or to register, contact the college at 928-425-8481 or visit GilaCommunityCollege.com.